Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slide Release Day!

Happy Book Birthday to Jill Hathaway!



Her debut novel, SLIDE, is released today!



My 5/5 review of SLIDE

*****

Important Links

SLIDE on Goodreads

SLIDE on Amazon
SLIDE on Barnes & Noble
SLIDE on Book Depository
Jill on Facebook
Jill on Twitter
Jill’s Blog
Jill’s Website
Jill’s YouTube Channel

Friday, March 23, 2012

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Title: Skin Deep
Author: Laura Jarratt

Release Date: 1st March 2012

My Rating: 5/5

Blurb:
Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...

After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan.

Ryan is also an outsider. When he arrives in town his mother tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her. Until he meets Jenna.

As Jenna and Ryan grow closer, the aftermath of the crash continues to splinter the community. And then a body is found...

In A Nutshell:
Skin Deep is raw, honest, emotional and beautiful. It is a story about first love, loss, second chances, stereotypes, mental illness, self-perception and letting go.

My Review:
You know how every now and then a book comes along and you fall in love with it immediately? This is what happened with Skin Deep for me. So much so, that I sat down to read a chapter before I went to sleep after a night out, and absolutely could not put it down. I finally finished at 4:30am, completely satisfied.

This is a story about coming to terms with things you can’t control and learning to love yourself. It’s about knowing there are horrible people in this world but there are also decent people and most of all, you are never alone, no matter how much it may feel that way. These are the kind of books I love; that reach out to the reader, to the scared or tormented teenager, and they form a connection.

I love both Jenna and Ryan’s stories and how they are told in alternating chapters.

Jenna can’t accept what has happened to her. She used to be one of the ‘pretty’ girls who stared at those who looked different. As she says herself, “Ugly people don’t have feelings.” Now that she no longer looks ‘normal’, she understands life from the other perspective as they are her feelings that are now being hurt. She doesn’t feel worthy of being loved based on the cruel taunts and staring faces that are aimed at her by those around her. She can’t accept herself and thinks ‘why would anyone ever like me. It must be a joke.’ And who can blame her when so many times it has been just that, a joke. How does someone learn to trust when people can be so, so cruel?

Her parents and doctors tell her to let it go. They tell her to just ignore people, who cares what they think? But it’s far easier said than done. It is human nature to care about what others think of you. Where on earth is she supposed to find the confidence she so desperately needs?

As Jenna battles with the public perception and reactions to her face, she is fighting her own internal battle of how she perceives herself.

Ryan has grown up as the child acting as the parent, with a flighty mum who suffers from a mental illness. He’s never stayed in one place long enough to make friends and he is constantly looked down upon because of the ‘gypsy’ lifestyle he and his mum lead. After a couple of uncomfortable, brief meetings, Jenna and Ryan form a bond that is the lifeline they both need.

As thing start to look up for the two outsiders, a mysterious death in the village brings unwanted attention to both Ryan and Jenna’s family and it looks like Jenna’s life is going to be turned upside down once again.

Skin Deep is raw, honest, emotional and beautiful. It is a story about first love, loss, second chances, stereotypes, mental illness, self-perception and letting go.

For fans of North of Beautiful, Five Flavours of Dumb, Just Listen or Beautiful Monster.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two-Year Blogoversary Giveaway Winners!


Thankyou to everyone who entered my Two-Year Blogoversary Give-away.

Congratulations to the following winners:
Lilian - Long Reach
Jasprit - Sean Griswold's Head
Vivian - Burn Bright
Veronika - Fallen
Celine - Immortal Beloved
Jasmine - Blood Red Road
Jammie - Wish You Were Dead
Rebecca - Divergent

Some of you have the same names so please check your inbox as all the winners have been contacted via email.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Night With Our Stars 2012

Last week I went to the 9th Annual A Night With Our Stars held at Westbooks in Victoria Park. The event, organised by the WA branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia, showcases the work of West Australian authors and illustrators (Kids and YA books) that were published throughout the past year (2011). With over 20 authors/illustrators, each had 3-5mins to talk about their books and then the audience were able to mingle with Our Stars and get books signed.


Brigid Lowry and Deb Fitzpatrick


Zoe Thurner (author of Dress Rehearsal) and JB Thomas

It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I met the lovely JB Thomas, author of Mammon, and got to tell Deb Fitzpatrick just how much I loved her book 90 Packets of Instant Noodles (which I discovered at last years event).

Myself and Deb Fitzpatrick

A highlight for me was meeting Brigid Lowry whose 1997 book Guitar Highway Rose is one of my all-time favourites. I was so angry with myself because I completely forgot to bring my first edition copy to get signed. But there was no way I was going to miss out on getting one of my fave books signed, so I bought another copy =D


Brigid Lowry signing my book!

Being a YA blog (and of course reader), my interest was primarily for the YA authors that were speaking. There are however two illustrators that I want to mention.

James Foley illustrated The Last Viking (written by Norman Jorgensen) and allowed us to witness his talent first hand as he quickly drew a picture to be won on the night, while Norman was speaking. Publisher Fremantle Press states the story is "about a boy who outwits local bullies by channelling his inner Viking." The whole book is fantastic and is one I always highlight while I'm working.


Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck was written by Michelle Gillespie and is the story of sixteen year-old Grace, and Sam, an Aboriginal stock-man, who helped rescue the passengers and crew of the sinking SS Georgette. It is based on the true events that occurred off the south-west coast of WA in 1876. The vibrant illustrations by Sonia Martinez brings this story to life and completely captures you.


Overall it was another great night (I attended last year) and it was so great to see so much local talent on display. Bring on the 10th anniversary next year!

GIVE-AWAY!
I am hosting a special give-away of a signed copy of Mammon by JB Thomas over on the Facebook page. This is a Facebook only give-away so pop on over to the page and leave a comment to enter!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cover Reveal Catch-Up!

I know I've been a bit behind lately. I've started at uni for the first time and the immediate work load has caught me off guard a bit. There have been a bunch of cover reveals that I have wanted to share with you, so you are getting them all in one hit!

Preloved by Shirley Marr


Is this not the most stunning cover?! It is definitely one of my all-time favourite covers and I can't wait to get my hands on Preloved come April. Check out my review of her debut, Fury.


Taste by Kate Evangelista


I 'm so excited for Kate with the news that Taste was picked up by Crescent Moon Press (and they let her keep the original cover she had designed before signing with them!). I've been following Kate's progress for almost two years now and I can't wait to read the rest of Taste (you can read an excerpt here) when it is released later this year.


Beautiful Redemption: Caster Chronicles #4 by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


The cover for book four was released this week as the casting news of the original book Beautiful Creatures continues to create hype. Joining Jack O'Connell, Alice Englert and Viola Davis is Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lincoln, and Emmy Rossum as Ridley.


Reached: Matched #3 by Ally Condie


Also announced this week was the title, Reached, and cover for the third book by Ally Condie. I love the three matching covers and how they tell a story (just as the Caster Chronicles covers do).


And just a reminder that my Two-Year Blogoversary Givaway is still running. You can win one of eight books and entries close 20th March 2012. Click here to enter.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy
Author: David Levithan

Release Date: 9th September 2003

My Rating: 5/5

Blurb:
Love is never easy. Especially if you're Paul. He's a sophomore at a high school like no other - and these are his friends:

Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback.
Joni, Paul's best friend who may not be his best friend any more.
Tony, his other best friend, who can't leave the house unless his parents think he's going on a date... with a girl.
Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won't go away.
Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odd...
And Noah. The Boy. The one who changes everything.

In A Nutshell:
Boy Meets Boy is one of my favourite David Levithan novels. Realistic and funny, I constantly had a smile on my face.

My Review:
Boy Meets Boy is set in a town and high school that is completely comfortable and open about everything, especially the gay kids. While I have certainly never come across a place so overwhelmingly supportive, I hope one day a place a country could exist like this and not just in the pages of such a fabulous novel.

The story centres around Paul, a guy who, by all accounts, has grown up pretty self-assured. He’s known he is gay since he was five and is extremely open and comfortable with who he is (read chapter two; hilarious and probably one of my favourite parts of the story for the ‘messages’ shared.). He has an eclectic group of friends and they have all the same troubles as every other teenager.

Boy Meets Boy is one of my favourite David Levithan novels. Realistic and funny, I constantly had a smile on my face. I loved the characters with all their quirks and extravagance, their insecurities and disagreements, desires and persistence.

Tony, who lives in another town, just wants to be able to go on a date with a boy without lying to his religious parents. Noah, who has been hurt before, wants to give a relationship another chance. Paul, he just wants his feelings reciprocated while his friend Joni, who has dated Ted on and off for years, suddenly decides the ‘off’ should be permanent. She starts dating Chuck, completely throwing off the group dynamics, especially when she starts ditching her life-long friends in favour of Chuck (I’m sure everyone has experienced that!). And Kyle is confused but thinks he has figured out what he wants.

When Paul meets Noah, the world is all rainbows and sunshine, until Paul screws it up. What I like about this story is that it is so realistic (aside from the fact there is no homophobia in their world). Life is messy and complicated and people make mistakes. When Paul accidentally makes a mess of things, Noah doesn’t easily forgive him; Paul has to make an effort to rebuild a relationship and the trust that they once had.

A loveable high school story about love, life, acceptance and the bonds of friendship.


“Do you really exist?” I blurt out.

“Not at all,” he says with a smile. “I’ve known that since I was four.”

“What happened when you were four?”

“Well I had this theory. Although I guess I was too young to know it was a theory. You see, I had this imaginary friend. She followed me everywhere – we had to set a place for her at the dinner table, she and I talked all the time – the whole deal. Then it occurred to me that she wasn’t the imaginary friend at all. I figured that I was the imaginary friend, and she was the one who was real. It made perfect sense to me. My parents disagreed, but I still secretly feel that I’m right.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Day I Met David Levithan

Last weekend I attended the Perth Writers Festival. This is a yearly event here in Perth and part of the Perth International Arts Festival. This was the first year I was able to attend since my previous job was at the bookshop that runs the festival bookshop every year (and I always had to work over the weekend). So I was ecstatic to be able to attend (big shout out to Cass for covering my shift at my current job!).

My excitement was for one reason only. David Levithan. I've read eight of his books, four of them being part of my All-Time Favourites list. I actually had the chance in 2010 to meet him when I was in New York and he was launching Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, but I wasn't able to attend. So I was super excited when it was announced he would be coming to lil'-old Perth.


He took part in two panels while here, Tapping into the Zeitgeist and Hard to Love. While I really liked what he had to say in Hard to Love, the other authors participating in the panel were of no interest to me. The stand-out was definitely Tapping into the Zeitgeist.


Along with fellow YA authors James Roy and Chetan Bhagat, David chatted to the audience and chairperson Julia Lawrinson about the changing nature of YA fiction and about creating your own work, rather than trying to follow in the 'it' theme. All three were very funny, something that took me by surprise, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable talk to listen to. The session was being filmed but I am yet to find out by who and how I can get hold of the footage (several emails have gone unanswered to the Festival team) which is unfortunate because it really was a delight to listen to and I would have loved to have shared it with you.

(L-R) Julia Lawrinson, James Roy, David Levithan, Chetan Bhagat

After the talk, all three authors were available to sign books. I was so nervous. I didn't even have a fan-girl moment and go all gushy. I just stood there smiling like an idiot while he signed seven books for me (three of my own, three as give-aways and one for a friend). I also got a photo with him and then later went back and managed to form a couple of coherent questions (yes the lime-green couch did exist in real life, although sadly no longer does. Also, Nick & Norah and Boy Meets Boy are 'probably' his favourites since they came first).


It was a great day for me. I did attend another talk with some Aussie adult authors but this eclipsed everything for me. It was also great to catch up with fellow Perth blogger Arielle from *Chimneys and Magic*. You should check out her post from the festival, she made much more of an effort than I did!

Keep an eye out for a give-away in the coming weeks featuring some signed copies of David's books!
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